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Check out the six Ws involved in effective men's discipleship.
Check out the six Ws involved in effective men's discipleship. (Stock Free Images)

After decades of building my weekly rhythms around small group discipleship in Manila, Philippines, the past few years of splitting time between Nashville, Manila and Delta airlines have been quite frustrating. With a fresh resolve, I’m starting again.

And so I met with a small group of men at Starbucks for discipleship. This was my first meeting with this group, and I went over with them the "six essential Ws" to discipling men:

1. Word. Always start with the Bible, God’s Word. Since “all Scripture is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16, NIV), all discipleship is simply about getting men into the Word and getting the Word into men. The Word does the lion’s share of the discipleship. It teaches, rebukes, corrects and trains. If you are not a good teacher, let the Word teach. If you are too timid to rebuke, let the Word rebuke. If you do not know what to correct, let the Word correct.

2. Worship. After we establish men in the Word, we must help disciple them in a lifestyle of worship. When I say worship, I am not talking about 20 minutes of singing on Sunday morning. That is part of it, but worship is much more than singing off-key while accompanied by smoke machines and a loud amateur band.

Here’s how Paul described real worship: “In view of God’s mercy, offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship” (Rom. 12:1, emphasis added). In discipleship, we must teach men to engage corporate worship (singing at church on Sunday) as well as sacrificially giving all to God Monday through Saturday (true and proper worship).

3. Work. Since men spend much more time at work than at church, discipleship must connect with the workplace. How does a man apply God’s Word in the office? Biblical discipleship should help a man be better at his work rather than coasting at the office waiting for the weekend. Undiscipled men endure their jobs all week waiting for Friday and Saturday night when they can party. Undiscipled religious men endure work all week waiting for Sunday morning worship. Both are wrong. Real disciples see work as a calling and serve, honor and worship God through their work.

4. Women. It is impossible to disciple men without dealing with what the Bible says about sexual boundaries. Gifted men, from King David to Samson to modern preachers, have wrecked their lives by crossing biblical boundaries with women. Married men and single men are equally vulnerable and guilty. Just yesterday, I heard a sad story of a businessman who got a woman pregnant. She was not his wife. This guy was a regular church attender. But he was not involved in a discipleship group.

5. Wealth. Like sexual boundaries, it is impossible to really disciple men without dealing with the root of all evil. Referring to money, Jesus said we cannot serve two masters, but many men try anyway. Money is an emotional and personal issue because it is a heart issue. When it comes to discipling men about money, I suggest you let the Word do the teaching, rebuking, correcting and training when it comes to this area. And let your example of generosity, integrity, discipline and faith shout "Amen!" to what the Word says about wealth and money.

6. God’s will. The final of the big six is to help a man discern God’s will for his life. The best way to know God’s will is to refer back to point No. 2 above—worship. If you give your life as a living sacrifice on God’s altar, “then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Rom. 12:2). If a man is unwilling to live a life of sacrifice, he will never fully know God’s good, pleasing and perfect will for his life. So, if you want to disciple men, boldly call them to sacrifice.

Steve and Deborah Murrell went to the Philippines in 1984 for a one-month summer mission trip that never ended. They are the founding pastors of Victory Manila, one church that meets in 14 locations in Metro Manila and has planted churches in 60 Philippine cities and 20 nations. Currently, Victory has more than 6,000 discipleship groups that meet in coffee shops, offices, dormitories and homes in Metro Manila. Steve is co-founder and president of Every Nation Churches and Ministries, a family of churches focused on church planting, campus ministry and world missions.

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